Saturday, December 27, 2008

How many Kassams does it take to wake a sleeping dog?

The world is shocked and outraged at the so-called "excessive" show of force by Israel as its airforce struck Gaza city inflicting close to 300 casualties. Hamas is saying that this will lead to all out war.

But wait, let's back up a bit.

Since 2005, over 7,000 Kassam rockets have been fired into Israel, all targeting civilians. This year has seen 3,000 rockets and mortars fired into Israel. Just a week ago, the truce between Hamas and Israel expired. Without provocation, Hamas launched another 200 attacks against the civilian population of Southern Israel. None of this produced any outrage or made front page news around the world. One might be forgiven for thinking that the lack of response to date by either Israel or the world has encouraged Hamas to continue its war against Israel as if it were within its given rights.

Today that changed. Or, did it?

Israel will certainly be villified again, called upon to restrain the use of its superior military force so peace talks can "resume". By now, one would think that the Israelis would have learnt that in a world that openly questions its right to exist, it will seldom find support for even its most limited military responses to Hamas, an organisation committed to Israel's destruction.

The other problem of course is that the Palestinians know how to spin a war. They know that the world will never suffer them to be pounded into submission by the Israelis, and that by taunting Israel into another skirmish the outcome will be an increase in anti-Semitic attacks around the globe. The repeated images shown of bombed buildings burning in Gaza and Palestinian mothers crying over their sons make for high TV news ratings, and low public opinion of Israel. But, when was the last time you saw a picture on the evening news of a building on fire in Sderot after it was hit by a Kassam rocket fired from Gaza? Or a Jewish mother crying for her child whose life has just been lost in the attack? It's a sad commentary on the state of the world in which we live.

I'm reminded of Proverbs 26: 17:

"Like one who seizes a dog by the ears
is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own"
This may be a quarrel that Hamas has made its own, after the Palestinian Authority fell out of favour, but they only have themselves to thank for the carnage they have invited when they refused to letting a sleeping dog lie.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kudos to Rick Warren

By pure chance, I caught most of Ann Curry's Dateline NBC interview with Rick Warren last night. Warren's choice by Obama to give the invocation at his January inauguration has been met by outrage by the gay community. That's because they were already angry with Warren for supporting "Prop 8".

Against this backdrop, Curry clearly decided that the viewer needed her to play some kind of devil's advocate. At one point she actually said this (emphasis added):

Your position has raised the specter that you are homophobic. And that is why people are angry. Gay people are angry. And how is it possible for them to be civil when someone-- maybe deny-- you would say, "I don't like what you are." You understand that.

To me, it seems a lot like she actually condoned the kind of harrasment that the gay community has launched against the likes of Rick Warren and the Mormon church for their opposition to the redefinition of the term marriage.

Warren did a good job answering her heavily biased line of questioning. At one point, she took up the old approach, asking if he would change his position if it was proved that people are born gay. I don't believe she saw his answer coming. See below. And pray for Rick...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Islam brings its peace to Mumbai

Muslims believe that they can bring peace to the world by making it submit to the rule of shariah law. Islam is much more than a religion; it is a political system, and since the days of its founding father, Mohammed, it has expanded through violence and conquest.

Last week, the world watched on with disbelief as a few Muslims terrorised the large Indian city of Mumbai. A group that is being blamed for masterminding the attack, Lashkar-e-Toiba, aims to place India under Islamic rule. Like Muslims elsewhere, they think that these attacks will intimidate the Indians into acquiescing to Islam. Targeting civilians, who are most easily intimidated, is justified in their minds since, after all, they are bringing them the peace of Islam.

Contrast that with the "peace that passes understanding". Jesus offers peace to every individual that transcends the surrounding situation. It is not about subjugation, but emancipation. It involves no coercion, only willful acceptance. It defies human understanding since a believer can face imminent death and know peace.

The key issue to note is that you cannot offer something you do not have. If you have no peace to offer, you can't hope to ever make peace.

Aside: I also thought this cartoon by Dry Bones was quite apt...